Preparing the body with flexibility exercises before golf is as important as working on your game. Many golfers are frustrated by their inability to maximize their potential. Although owning the best golf equipment is essential, without the ability to physically execute the proper swing mechanics your efforts are fruitless. If lack of time is a challenge my suggestion is work on one component ' your flexibility. Regardless of your existing flexibility condition, the most basic yoga poses will reap tremendous benefits. My program guarantees a 20% increase in your range of motion!
Just as the body needs time to generate blood flow to the muscles the mind requires time to focus. Breathing is the key to bringing the mind into focus. During this series all of the Yoga for Golfers poses, breathing is the single most important component. Breathe deeply, inhaling and exhaling through the nose. Focus on the expansion of the diaphragm. The breathing awareness you receive from the yoga practice will translate into better rhythm and tempo on the course as well as teaching you the ability to calm the mind.
This series requires a yoga mat, yoga block, stretching strap and balance ball. All the products are available on the site at www.KRTotalFitness.com.
The benefits of this flexibility series:
1) Generate more club head speed and distance off the tee.
2) Increase range of motion and discover areas of potential hyper-flexibility (more to come on this topic in the coming weeks)
3) Increase hip and shoulder turn ' generated more power
4) Increase flexibility in the erector spinae muscles ' generating more consistency and strength
5) Increase endurance and reduce the risk of injury.
The following poses are appropriate for Par / Birdie and Eagle Levels:
Inhale as you press the spine towards the floor. Exhale as you pull your navel towards the spine, press the spine towards the ceiling and tuck the chin towards the chest. Repeat ten times.
Place the arms perpendicular the body, bend the knees and place the feet close to the glutes. Inhale deeply as you allow the legs to fall to the left. Exhale bringing the legs back to center. Repeat on the right side. Repeat ten times and allow the legs to rest on the yoga block on the right side for five breaths. Switch sides.
Move the glutes back towards the heels but do not bring the glutes to the heels. Stretch your arms to the front of the yoga mat. Place the hands as wide as the mat, spreading the fingers wide and pressing the entire hand into the mat. Focus on the stretch in the shoulders and low back. Hold for two breaths, return to all fours and repeat five times.
Bring the back against the wall and extend the legs out. Pull the navel towards the spine and sit up as tall as possible. Roll the shoulders back and focus the eyes over the toes. Inhale deeply and on the exhale flex the feet towards the body and engage the quads. Hold for two breaths, relax and repeat five to ten times.
Bring the back against the wall and bring the soles of the feet together. Bring the heels towards the groin until you feel the stretch. Pull the navel towards the spine, roll the shoulders back and breathe deeply. On the exhalation, press the knees towards the floor. Hold for two breaths, relax and repeat five times.
My recommendation is to practice this warm-up series everyday as well as your pre-round and post-round flexibility program.
Editor's Note: Katherine Roberts, founder of Yoga for Golfers, has 20 years of experience in fitness training, yoga studies, professional coaching and motivation. Katherine welcomes your email questions and comments, contact her at Katherine@KRTotalFitness.com or visit www.KRTotalFitness.com.